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Old 03-01-2011, 12:36 AM   #1
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


I've got 8' external French Doors that don't meet properly in the middle. (Everything I describe below will be in terms of how they meet in the middle, along their vertical edge, as viewed from inside the house.) Viewing face on, there is almost a 1/4" gap between them at the top, which gradually tapers to nothing at the bottom. Viewing from the right of the doors, the swinging door tilts inward at the top about 3/8", gradually becoming even with the stationary door toward the bottom. That is, it doesn't engage the stationary door's vertical weatherstripping for much of its height because it's leaning inwards, and only the bottom three feet or so engage. When standing to the right of the doors, the junction between the doors looks sort of like \|, with the backslash representing the swinging (left) door, which is leaning inwards at the top. The doors look fine around the hinges (4 on each side).

I've been working around this with weatherstripping tape, but it's still a little drafty, and it looks bad. ISTR that when I open them both, I can get them to engage properly, but when I swing them together as a unit to their closed position, they separate in the middle as previously described. Another problem is that last summer, the doors essentially became non-functional due to binding in the bottom couple of feet, but as the heat and humidity abated in the autumn, the situation resolved itself.

Any ideas how to approach fixing this thing?

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Old 03-01-2011, 07:01 AM   #2
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


You will be able to find the answer with a good level.

I'm going to call the jambs (the part with the hinges) a 'leg'.

The legs are not parallel--or the doors themselves are twisted .

Check the legs with your level--are they identical? If you could move the leg with the hinges in or out at the bottom would the door close in the center?

I suspect that your framing might have moved since the original installation--or the jamb legs were not screwed into the framing --and have shifted a bit.

Take a picture or two,if you can--or come back and add more information. Water might be getting around the flashing,causing the seasonal changes.---More info---Mike---

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Old 03-01-2011, 07:09 AM   #3
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


There's a lot that could be causing your problem. How long ago have these doors been installed? It could be as simple as loose hinge screws, but I bet you checked that already.
No doubt the seasonal changes are in-play and doors should always be installed with the seasons in mind.

As Mike mention, pics are worth a thousand words, just take good clear detailed pictures.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:49 PM   #4
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


Here are some pics of where the doors meet in the middle.

1. Inside Top: Left (swinging) door juts in at the top



2. Outside top: Right (swinging) door doesn't engage the framing weatherstrip at the top or on the stationary door. You can see the foam tape insulation I used to try to make up for this.



3. Inside Height: This shows the top 2/3 of the door, and you may be able to make out how the left (swinging) door starts out leaning in at the top and gradually comes into agreement with the stationary door toward the bottom. The bottom part is clipped off, but the doors are completely even for the bottom two feet.

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Old 03-01-2011, 06:14 PM   #5
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


Thanks,very helpful.
Do you have a good level?

If so--check these three places--left jamb---the door ,where it is sticking out (to see if the door is wracked) --and the right jamb.
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:04 PM   #6
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


Checked in multiple places with 3' level. Turns out the swinging door is plumb. When I release the top latch on the stationary door, it pops inward and comes just about even with the swinging door. So I guess the door frame somehow get twisted? Checking the jambs from the outside, the door frame does appear to be leaning outwards from bottom to top on both sides, which is consistent with the doors appearing to lean inwards from bottom to top in the middle.

So, what to do? I'm thinking about moving (well, more like elongating) the hole for the latch pin at the top to bring the stationary door into alignment with the swinging one. I'll add some foam weatherstripping at the top as it will no longer fully engage the framing weatherstrip. Might have to add a dowel to keep the pin from having a lot of play. It looks like the pin needs to come inwards 3/8" or so. Not ideal, but the doors will at least align vertically in the middle. I'm all ears for a better solution.

How is this normally addressed during construction? They're still building out the neighborhood, and I've noticed French doors tend to have this problem with they're first installed, but it's uncommon for the finished house. So they're doing something to fix it.
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:44 PM   #7
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


Quote:
Originally Posted by tima2381 View Post
Checked in multiple places with 3' level. Turns out the swinging door is plumb. When I release the top latch on the stationary door, it pops inward and comes just about even with the swinging door. So I guess the door frame somehow get twisted? Checking the jambs from the outside, the door frame does appear to be leaning outwards from bottom to top on both sides, which is consistent with the doors appearing to lean inwards from bottom to top in the middle.

So, what to do? I'm thinking about moving (well, more like elongating) the hole for the latch pin at the top to bring the stationary door into alignment with the swinging one. I'll add some foam weatherstripping at the top as it will no longer fully engage the framing weatherstrip. Might have to add a dowel to keep the pin from having a lot of play. It looks like the pin needs to come inwards 3/8" or so. Not ideal, but the doors will at least align vertically in the middle. I'm all ears for a better solution.

How is this normally addressed during construction? They're still building out the neighborhood, and I've noticed French doors tend to have this problem with they're first installed, but it's uncommon for the finished house. So they're doing something to fix it.
The door frame needs to be reset so the vertical legs are plumb. digging out wood to compensate for a bad install is, let's say, ill advised.
This statement:
"They're still building out the neighborhood, and I've noticed French doors tend to have this problem with they're first installed, but it's uncommon for the finished house. So they're doing something to fix it"
So every unit in this area is installed incompetantly? And then someone comes by to fix it?
Makes no sense.
If you want it fixed, reset the door.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:36 PM   #8
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


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The door frame needs to be reset so the vertical legs are plumb. digging out wood to compensate for a bad install is, let's say, ill advised.
Not my first choice, either.

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So every unit in this area is installed incompetantly? And then someone comes by to fix it?
I assume so. I've seen a couple of doors that were really, really bad when first installed, and I can't imagine the houses would sell in that condition. I can't say for sure that I ever followed up on those houses, but finished houses tend to have doors that fit.

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If you want it fixed, reset the door.
Ron
That would be a pretty major major undertaking, right? If I were to go that far, I might want to replace the whole door with a better one.
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:43 PM   #9
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


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That would be a pretty major major undertaking, right? If I were to go that far, I might want to replace the whole door with a better one.
No, this would be pretty easy.
The door doesn't need to come out of the opening, just be adjusted inside it.
If you think of someone standing with their feet together, that's the way the side jambs should be.
In your situation, one foot is out in front of the other. You need to loosen the offending side jamb and move it forward or back, depending on the situation. As you move the jamb, you'll see the gap where the doors meet close up or open up. When the gap disappears the feet are together.
Now you need to see if their standing up straight(plumb) If both the jambs are plumb, you're done. Resecure the jambs and put back the moldings.
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:02 PM   #10
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


Are the jambs are flush with the wall?

Are the walls plumb?
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:35 PM   #11
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


Some times the wood part of the door warps. Open up the door and give it a good eye to see if its twisted. If not the frame was installed poorly and is out of line possibly because the framing is out of plum.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:42 PM   #12
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French Doors Don't Meet In Middle


I agree with masterofall.

In the old days, we put the facings on the door,then hung it.

I question the quality of some of these newer doors.

Maybe i am totally off base here, just sayin.

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